5 things to know for December 18: Mueller investigation, immigration, TSA, Brazilian healer, Les Moonves

Posted at 4:25 AM, Dec 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-18 07:17:14-05

If you’re no good at New Year’s resolutions but still want to make some changes in your life, consider making 12 “micro resolutions” instead. Here’s what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door. (You can also get “5 Things You Need to Know Today” delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)

1. Mueller investigation

We now know a little bit more about the events that led up to the criminal case against former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn, who is set to be sentenced today for lying to FBI investigatorsSpecial counsel Robert Mueller released a memo Monday from January 2017 detailing the FBI’s interview with Flynn that month. That was the interview, the one during which Flynn was accused of lying to the FBI and later charged over it. Whether the FBI decided Flynn was lying at that moment has become a touch point in President Donald Trump’s recent attacks on the Mueller investigation. Trump says the FBI pursued charges that weren’t in line with the bureau’s findings that day, and that the FBI didn’t think Flynn was lying at the time. However, other memos from Mueller indicate FBI investigators knew details of some of the things Flynn was talking about before they asked him — and knew when he wasn’t telling the truth.

2. Immigration

Two emotional stories are playing out that put the immigration debate in stark human terms. The family of a 7-year-old Guatemalan girl who died while in US custody after being detained at the border is asking for an investigation into her death. Jakelin Caal Maquin died December 8, two days after her father alerted border agents she was sick and vomiting. While the father has said he was “grateful” for the efforts of first responders who tried to save his daughter’s life, his attorneys also said he wanted answers. The Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General’s office is now investigating the death. Meanwhile, the mother of a 2-year-old boy on life support is fighting to gain entry into the United States to see him. The mother is a Yemeni national living in Egypt and reportedly cannot enter the country because of the Trump administration’s travel ban. The boy’s father is attempting to get his wife an “expedited humanitarian visa” so she can be with her son, who has a genetic brain condition.

3. TSA

The Transportation Security Administration is saying it has dialed back a controversial Big Brother-esque passenger monitoring program called “Quiet Skies.” The program monitors American travelers who are not on any terror watch lists or suspected of terrorism or criminal behavior — so basically anyone. According to The Boston Globe, the program allows armed undercover air marshals to monitor “whether travelers use a phone, go to the bathroom, chat with others, or change clothes” during their time at the airport. The marshals can then report their observations to intelligence agencies. In response to the investigation, the TSA told CNN the program “has evolved,” specifically the way the information is reported and how passengers of interest are tracked.

4. Brazilian healer

A famous Brazilian healer is in jail after more than 300 women accused him of sexual abuse. According to the Department of Public Ministry in the Brazilian state of Goiás, the women had contacted João Teixeira de Faria for spiritual healing, and the accusers are from various countries around the world. Teixeira turned himself in to authorities Sunday, but his attorneys say he is innocent. Teixeira, who is not a trained doctor, says he calls on the spirits of dead doctors while performing so-called spiritual surgeries and treatments, sometimes using medical instruments to cut his patients without anesthesia. He gained international fame in 2013 after an interview with Oprah Winfrey (who has since removed the interview from her site and released a statement about the situation).

5. Les Moonves

Ousted CBS chief executive Les Moonves has lost the rights to a $120 million severance package after the company’s board of directors determined it had “ample reason” to fire him. Moonves was accused of sexual harassment by multiple women in a pair of New Yorker stories over the summer. Moonves was booted from his position the same day the second story came out, which seemed like a natural conclusion for many. His six-figure parting gift, however, did not. Under the terms of his employment contract, Moonves was eligible to receive as much as $140 million upon his exit — $120 million of that was tied up as the CBS board awaited the findings of an investigation into Moonves’ conduct. The board got the report, which cited several examples of “sexual misconduct” — and now Moonves will not get the money. Moonves acknowledged making mistakes in his past but said he never abused his power. He has denied having any nonconsensual sexual encounters.


“In an ordinary universe, would both of these people’s past activities disqualify them for serving for office? Yes. But that’s not the world we live in today. The world we live in today, it’s either him or her, and for me that’s still an easy choice.”

Incoming White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney discussing then-candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton during a radio interview in October 2016.  


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Honey, wasn’t there a whole movie warning us about this?

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Cruel and unusual crime, meet cruel and unusual punishment.

The Lincoln Continental is bringing back “suicide doors” 

Your grandpa heartily approves.

Tired all the time? Your immune system may be to blame. 

Or it’s the fact that you don’t get enough sleep, come on!



The number of UNESCO World Heritage sites in Cordoba, Spain. It’s the first city in the world to have that many, surpassing even Rome and Paris. UNESCO says such sites must be “of universal outstanding value” and meet one of 10 criteria such as being representative of a living or extinct cultural tradition or civilization.


Wait, where’d the treat go, Santa?!

A shelter got someone to do some holiday magic tricks to show the cute little personalities of all their adoptable dogs. But remember, before you go out and scoop up the whole lot of them for Christmas, pets are not gifts! They’re forever friends who deserve all of your love year-round. (Click here to view.)